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Texas authorizes “take all necessary steps” to preserve Fairfield Lake Park

Editor’s Note: The video above shows KXAN News Today’s top headlines for May 25, 2023.

AUSTIN (KXAN)—Texas is taking steps to save a popular state park from closure and development to private communities, but time is running out before the land is sold to developers.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission unanimously voted Thursday to authorize the executive director of the Parks and Wildlife Service to “take all necessary steps to purchase approximately 5,000 acres of land in Freestone County.” bottom. Fairfield Lake State Park‘, according to a ministry release.

The park, about 110 miles east of Waco, closed to the public at the end of February after nearly 50 years of operation. After that, it temporarily resumed operations, but is scheduled to close completely on June 13.

“This action reinforces the continued commitment and support of state leadership, the TPW Commission and TPWD to preserve our parks while adding new park lands for all Texans now and in the future. ‘ said the release.

The Story of Fairfield Lake State Park

The parkland was once leased to the state by Vistra Energy, which operated a power plant on the lakefront. Vistra has a deal to sell the land to Dallas-based developer Todd Interest. Turn your site into an exclusive gated community Features a multi-million dollar home and a private golf course.

Due to contractual confidentiality provisions, it is unknown how much Todd Interest paid for the land, but the land published online Over $110 million.

Thursday’s action is the latest development in the world. years of effort to keep the park open. When Vistra’s coal-fired plant closed in 2018, the company gave Parks and Wildlife Service two years’ notice of its intention to terminate the lease in October 2020. The lease has been further extended until fall 2022, subject to the sale of the land.

“Vistra encouraged TPWD to submit bids for this property, but they did not,” Vistra spokeswoman Melanda Cohn said in a previous statement. The company signed a deal with Todd Interest in April 2022. At that point Vistra ceased negotiations with the state.

Todd Interest CEO Sean Todd told lawmakers at a hearing on May 1, “As a taxpayer, Park and Wildlife has made real estate purchases over the years. “I’m frankly angry that we didn’t find a way,” he said.

It’s unclear how Thursday’s vote will affect that deal, if at all. KXAN has reached out to both Vistra Energy and Todd Interests for comment and will update this article when we receive a response.

The Parks and Wildlife Commission is also considering holding a special meeting early next month to consider additional legal options to keep the parks open.

Meanwhile, state legislatures are also involved.a The bill was submitted in March Acquire land through a prominent fiefdom.or the bill has changed significantly And now we just need to change the water permits for the lake. Parks and Wildlife First Approved.

TPWD Chairman Arch “Bieber” Aplin previously told lawmakers that the developer will convert water permits from industrial to consumer, residential, and recreational, and turn thousands of acre-feet of water into the Dallas-Fort Worth District. He said he wants to send it to Metroplex.

Some lawmakers expressed concern If passed, the bill could violate property rights of developers and expose the state to lawsuits.

invoice passed the House of Representatives But it was put on hold before a Senate committee.

More than 5,700 visitors have entered the park since it reopened in March, according to TPWD.Park last year Welcoming more than 82,000 visitors.

https://www.kxan.com/news/texas/tpwd-authorized-to-take-all-necessary-steps-to-save-texas-state-park-from-development/ Texas authorizes “take all necessary steps” to preserve Fairfield Lake Park

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